How is My Personal Property Handled in a Trust?

June 20, 2017

Personal property such as jewelry, antiques, artwork, family heirlooms, and household effects can be passed on to your beneficiaries through a specific bequest: “I leave my Ming Vase to my sister Betty.” But for most people, it would be overwhelming to try to inventory and choose a beneficiary for every last item you own. Instead,… Read more »

What is a Community Property Agreement and How Does it Interact with My Trust?

June 16, 2017

If you live in one of the ten community property states, your state law may allow for a community property agreement. This is an agreement between spouses that acknowledges that all assets are community property. In addition, it stipulates that in the event of the death of one of the spouses, all of the assets… Read more »

My Husband Did Not Have a Revocable Living Trust.

June 14, 2017

He only had a will and there were no big problems when he passed away, so why do I need a revocable living trust? This specific situation would need to be reviewed by your professional advisors, of course, but one reason you may have experienced no problems is because you and your husband owned everything… Read more »

What Happens to My Assets if None of the Beneficiaries Named in My Living Trust Survive Me?

June 12, 2017

Your living trust should include an “ultimate distribution” provision that addresses the unlikely scenario that all of your beneficiaries—typically your spouse, children or grandchildren—do not survive you. What is sometimes referred to as a the “family disaster” provision might specify that your assets would pass to designated “contingent” beneficiaries such as your siblings, nieces or… Read more »

What Do Unmarried or Same-Sex Couples Need to Consider in Preparing an Estate Plan?

June 08, 2017

Unmarried couples face special estate planning challenges. For those with larger estates, the “unlimited marital deduction” described in Chapter 4 is not available as a planning tool. What if an unmarried couple, like the majority of Americans, never gets around to doing any estate planning? If one partner were to become incapacitated, the healthy partner… Read more »

Is it Possible to Establish a Trust for My Pets?

June 06, 2017

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the importance of pets in people’s lives, and the affection that they feel for them, than the events which followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the failure of the levees in New Orleans. When rescuers arrived, some people who had been trapped for days by the floodwaters refused to leave their… Read more »

What is a Lifetime Trust?

June 02, 2017

A Lifetime Trust keeps the assets within the trust for the lifetime of the beneficiary. This trust avoids probate and has asset protection features .The majority of lifetime trusts distribute income and principal as needed for health, education, lifestyle maintenance, and support. This is typically the most protective type of trust, especially when co-trustees are… Read more »

What is a Convenience Trust?

May 31, 2017

A Convenience Trust is a trust that permits the beneficiary to withdraw the assets at any time for any reason without restriction. It gives almost as much control of the inheritance to a beneficiary as an outright distribution. However, it may provide some protections, provided that he or she leaves the assets in the trust,… Read more »

I’ve Created and Funded My Living Trust—What Do I Need to Do to Maintain It?

May 29, 2017

It is simply not enough to create a living trust, no matter how well designed and drafted. Changes in your personal and financial circumstances, changes in the law, and changes in your attorney’s knowledge and experience, affect the long-term viability of your estate plan. It is important that you periodically meet with your attorney and… Read more »

Will I Have to Amend My Trust Every Time I Acquire a New Asset?

May 25, 2017

You do not have to amend your trust every time that you acquire a new asset. The trust instructions control the eventual disposition of the assets, but those instructions don’t change each time an asset is included. Instead, acquiring new assets is part of the ongoing funding process, and you will want to take title… Read more »